HARLINGEN — When Elijah Robledo, 15, of Harlingen, was looking for ideas to do community service it made him take a look at his personal life.
Robledo runs one to three miles every day and recognizes that he needs tennis shoes to run. Now, he raises money to buy tennis shoes for orphans or children in need.
Robledo created Foster Feet RGV in June to help those without proper shoes.
“That’s where my inspiration began, it just reminded me of my daily life,” he said.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Robledo could not do other types of community service. He thought about waiting for the pandemic to end but decided to create his own project instead.
He has a website called fosterfeetrgv.org.
To be able to reach the children with the most needs, Robledo did his research and contacted local organizations. Then, he was told how many shoes to buy and what sizes.
He visited Sunny Glen Children’s Home in San Benito and will soon be visiting Children’s Haven in Pharr.
Robledo has been getting donations from different business owners and has asked his friends to spread the word as well. By doing so he has been able to raise $4,600.
“So far, I have bought 10 pairs of shoes for Sunny Glen and have bought 21 for Children’s Haven. I need to buy 29 more for Children’s Haven,” he said.
Robledo is hoping to get this done before school starts. He added people have told him he is an inspiration to his generation and should strive to cater to more orphans.
“I have been able to be more aware of what is going around the world and the community. The director at Sunny Glen was telling me how some of these orphans have felt not loved because they are not chosen to be adopted,” Robledo said.
He is looking to reach $6,000 to help other local organizations and to provide shoes at Christmas as well.
Robledo is currently doing this on his own with help from his father, friends and family.
“Once COVID is lifted, I am going to donate time at the orphanages if possible, among other organizations” he said.